Boeing Moves To Achieve Its Long Time Goal of Space Travel

Ever since the ancient philosophers in Europe and Asia looked into the night sky and witnessed, with great clarity, the moon and stars all around Planet Earth, the human race has been awestruck by the majesty and the mystery of our ever-expanding universe.

We have developed tools like telescopes to look into the vast expanse of the stars; we have built rockets to propel us out of the earth’s atmosphere, sent satellites into orbit, and sent human beings to walk among the surface of our nearest lunar neighbor. 

Yet, we have long dreamed and romanticized the concept of space exploration, all with the Goal of one day conquering this last frontier.  Authors like H.G. Wells have written about cosmic visitors, and filmmakers like Stanley Kubrick and George Lucas have envisioned highly advanced civilizations that can travel from planet to planet in great spaceships as fast as the speed of light.  And now Boeing Co. and several partner companies are taking steps to make those once-termed science-fiction tales into the reality of the future. 

Boeing Co. has just opened a new assembly plant in Florida for the specific purpose of housing and developing commercial spaceships.  The facility will be used to prepare a new spacecraft called the CST-100 Starliner for a debut test flight in 2017.  Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg was quoted Friday at the Kennedy Space Center saying that,

This is a point in history that reflects a new era in human spaceflight. 

The rockets carry up to seven crewmembers and will be used (in initial test flights) to transport crewmembers and supplies to and from the International Space Station. 

Along with providing transportation for scientific study, these crafts will also be intended for the first commercial endeavors into space.  Bigelow Aerospace, a privately owned company that aims to send ‘outpost sites’ into orbit, already has agreements in place with Boeing to provide transportation to these posts for scientific researchers and for upcoming commercial space programs.  A prototype Bigelow habitat is currently wrapping up development and is scheduled to dock alongside the International Space Station for a two-year test in early 2016.  One such commercial program is expected to be unveiled by Amazon founder Jeff Bezos at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station this September 15th.  Bezos’s space company, Blue Origin, is planning to open a new rocket manufacturing plant right next to Kennedy Space Center.   

Mankind has taken great leaps and come a long way since the Wright Brothers took their first flight over a beach in North Carolina in 1903.  We have often wondered of our place in the world and if our planet is truly the only host of life in the vast universe.  NASA took the first major leap when we sent Neil Armstrong to walk on the moon nearly 50 years ago, and now Boeing (and company) are taking the next steps to take us even further.  True, we still a long way to go before we are able to reach Jupiter and travel Beyond the Infinite, but the journey is already beginning!